Energy policy — nuclear: An independent report confirms sufficient economically mineable uranium for the proposed Piñon Ridge Mill

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From The Telluride Watch (Gus Jarvis):

The report was prepared by Economic & Planning Systems, Inc., a national consulting firm with offices in Denver and in Sacramento, Calif. The report was requested by Montrose County in order to determine the feasibility and magnitude of regional uranium operations, given supply, demand, and competitive restraints…

The Uravan Mineral Belt, one of the richest uranium deposits in the United States is estimated to contain between 31 percent and 36 percent of the nation’s uranium resource. The Montrose County uranium resource has the market advantage of containing high-grade uranium and large quantities of vanadium, which adds significant value to area mining properties. The uranium resource available to supply a mill in Montrose County is as much as 2,667 tons per day, at a uranium price of $50 per pound, and as much as 4,333 tons per day at a uranium price of $100 per pound.

Energy Fuels’ Piñon Ridge Mill is currently licensed for a capacity of 500 tons per day, with the potential to expand to 1,000 tons per day through additional permitting…

Before construction of the mill gets underway, Energy Fuels must still clear several hurdles including a legal challenge to the mill’s radioactive materials license approval. The lawsuit was filed in District Court last February by Sheep Mountain Alliance and alleges that during their review regulators never allowed the public to ask them or Energy Fuels representatives technical questions about the project, which the Telluride-based environmental group believes is a violation of the federal Atomic Energy Act.

More nuclear coverage here and here.

Drought news: Kimmi Lewis — ‘It’s going to take many, many rains to get out of this mess we are in’

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From the Ag Journal (Candace Krebs):

“We’re right on the edge of it,” Wil Bledsoe said of the ranch’s proximity to the extreme conditions. “On the southern half, the vegetation looks like it is still winter. But the northern half looks pretty good.”

Kimmi Lewis, who was at the Bledsoe Ranch last weekend for the annual convention of the Colorado Independent CattleGrower’s Association, a group she has been serving as president, said earlier this summer her Muddy Valley Ranch south of La Junta was as dry as it had ever been and continually threatened by wildfires. Since then, timely rains have greened up the immediate area, and the grass is growing again. “We had already shipped out our young cows the middle of June to Wyoming,” she said. “Kim is very dry. Branson is unbelievably dry. The drought covers a huge area, and it is so everlasting. It’s going to take many, many rains to get out of this mess we are in.”[…]

Tom Hendrix, who runs cattle near Wray, Colo., said while his area is in “excellent shape” with grass as good as it’s ever been, he worries that future “hay prices are going to eat everybody up.”[…]

“From I-70 north, they are having a wonderful year,” [Bledsoe] said. “That’s consistently what happens. We need to move I-70 30 miles south, I guess.”

Runoff news: The Yampa River below Craig still high — 2,420 cfs this morning

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From the Craig Daily Press (Andy Bockelman):

Yampa River State Park Manager Ron DellaCroce said water levels in the river have “dropped substantially” from where they were in mid-May. However, the water is still surging at an above average rate. “It’s at least three times the normal level,” said…

At the Yampa’s Hayden location, USGS measured 2,560 cubic feet per second in Friday afternoon’s reading, down from May’s 7,700. Farther downriver, the Maybell section charted at 3,740 cubic feet per second on Friday, a considerable dip from May’s 11,900…

“The reading we have (for Friday) is the highest we’ve had for this date since 1957,” he said. “The levels we have are what we’d normally see in June.”

From the Loveland Reporter-Herald (Madeline Novey):

Water enthusiasts were allowed back into the Cache la Poudre River on Tuesday after Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith lifted a ban that had closed the river to inner tubes and other floatation devices since mid-June. The city of Fort Collins and its Parks and Natural Areas also lifted river access closure, according to a press release from the city.

From The Crested Butte News (Allisa Johnson):

“Taylor Park reservoir got as close as we’d like to have it to filling. We’ve been having very high releases over the last few days to bring that down because there’s concern of thunderstorms settling in the basin,” said Frank Kugel, general manager of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD).

According to a Tuesday update from the Bureau of Reclamation, the Taylor was being drawn down at a rate of 700 cubic feet per second (cfs) and would likely be reduced to a rate of 600 cfs by Thursday. Inflows into the reservoir had finally begun to drop off and the Bureau anticipated having enough space in the reservoir to accommodate heavy rains. The update went on to say that a July 15 forecast calls for a total inflow volume of 38,000 acre feet in July—or 190 percent of average.

According to Kugel, releases from Taylor Reservoir are typically around 350 cfs this time of year. He also said that Blue Mesa Reservoir is within two inches of spilling—officially considered full by the Bureau of Reclamation. And as of Tuesday, the East River near Almont has been flowing at 400 cfs, more than twice the long-term average, and the Gunnison River is flowing at 2,300 cfs. The Gunnison normally runs below 900 cfs.

Water Court Division Three: New water referee will be Rio Grande County Judge Patrick Hayes

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

He takes over for Judge Pattie Swift, who will become water judge in October following Kuenhold’s retirement.

The water referee investigates and rules upon applications for new water rights, changes in water rights and findings of diligence for conditional water rights. Unless protests to those decisions arise, the water judge then issues a decree based on the referee’s ruling.

More Rio Grande River basin coverage here.

San Luis Valley: Baca Grande residents voice concern over SeaQuest corrosion inhibitor dosing in their water supply

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From the Center Post Dispatch (Teresa L. Benns):

For decades, Scott Johnson and Steve McDowell ran the BGW&S and there were no problems, Karlstrom points out. But for nearly three years, the water district has been run by SDMS, a for-profit management team and its engineering firm sub-contractor in Denver. Many Baca residents now perceive there has been a significant erosion of local control and influence over their water district and water quality…

“Current dosing of ortho-polyphosphate into the Baca water is about 1.68 ppm. (Mark Bluestein measured 0.42 ppm at my tap in June 23, 2011. However, SeaQuest representatives note that readings of orthophosphate must be multiplied by a factor of 4 because the ratio of orthophosphate to polyphosphate in their blend is about 1:3).

“Ortho-polyphosphate is also used as a blood coagulant for hemophiliacs and trauma victims, in the fish farm industry, and in liquid fertilizer for plants. However, its health effects are unknown and indeed, could prove to be much worse than ingestion of copper and lead, the elements that SeaQuest is supposed to protect against.

“SeaQuest, by contrast, is secret, proprietary blend of orthophosphate and polyphosphate in approximately a 1 to 4 ratio, and is a man-made product. SeaQuest is an ortho-polyphosphate (OPP) that was originally designed to reduce the problem of corrosion inside boilers on Navy vessels. It is marketed as a corrosion inhibitor.

More water treatment coverage here.

Pueblo: 3rd annual Arkansas River Watershed Invasive Plant Partnership July 27

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From The Pueblo Chieftain:

The Arkansas River Watershed Invasive Plant Partnership will host its annual conference 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Colorado Rural Water Association, 176 W. Palmer Lake Drive, Pueblo West. A workshop on tamarisk will be 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday. Both the conference and the workshop will help inform land managing agencies and landowners along the Arkansas and Purgatoire Rivers of restoration efforts and tools used to address the problem of tamarisk and other invasive species.

Details of the events and more information can be found online.

More tamarisk control coverage here and here.